Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from September 18 through 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from September 18 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Finance Your Business
Date: September 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Business Assistance Center
270 Frank Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Diana Chavez | diana@workingsolutions.org | (415) 590-0155
Organization: Working Solutions
Fee: Free

Join this panel discussion with Working Solutions, U.S. Bank, Kiva, and Opportunity Fund to learn about key resources for lending for small businesses:

  • Financing options
  • What lenders are looking for
  • Credit requirements
  • Importance of a relationship with a financial institution
  • Eligibility guidelines and loan application procedures

Click here to register for this event.

Business Basics Series
Date: September 26, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin—IVC Building 27 Room 112
1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA 94949 (map it)
Contact: Miriam Karell | miriam@marinsbdc.org | (415) 755-1100
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: $25

Learn what it takes to start a business and succeed! This series of 3 classes is perfect for those exploring business ownership and want more information about what it takes to run a business. This workshop series is also helpful for new business owners who want to brush up on strategic planning, finances and marketing.

Business Planning gives you the basic information on business start-up, business planning, and different types of business plans. Explore planning tools to help you define your unique business vision and develop a strategy that works.

Each class can be taken individually or as a series. You save $15 by registering for all 3 workshops.

Click here to register for this event.

Meetup: Escape the Bootstrap Trap with Jenny Kassan
Date: September 27, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond, CA 94801 (map it)
Contact: Bret Sweet | bsweet@rencenter.org | (510) 221-2002
Organizations: Renaissance Richmond
Fee: Free

Join business coach Jenny Kassan for Escape the Bootstrap Trap: How to Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards or Putting Your Personal Assets at Risk.

Are you:

  • Tired of not having the resources you need to do what you want with your business?
  • Wearing a million hats in your business instead of getting the right help?
  • Worried about how much of your personal assets you’re investing in your business?

This talk will teach you:

  • Three keys to get clear on your path for bringing the resources you need into your business
  • Ways to find the right investors that allow you to grow your business on your terms
  • Strategies to create a sustainable business that fits with your chosen lifestyle, goals, and values

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

San Diego Small Business Expo
Date: September 21, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego Convention Center—Hall H
111 W. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Small Business Expo
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Veteran-Owned Small Business Risk Education Workshop
Date: September 26, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
1816 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map it)
Contact: info@wbc-la.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

DID YOU KNOW you could be held liable for the auto accident of an employee? WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your supplier couldn’t deliver an item you use in your end product? COULD YOUR BUSINESS STAY OPEN if there was a natural disaster or if you had major surgery?

VEDC has partnered with Travelers to bring you this Small Business Risk Education workshop. Join us and learn how to better protect your small business. If you are a veteran or service-disabled veteran entrepreneur, we will teach you safety and loss prevention strategies, and develop a plan to address your business risks.

Topics covered in this workshop:

  • Managing business relationship risk
  • Keeping your business up and running
  • Establishing driver and vehicle safety

Minorities and women-owned businesses are encouraged to participate. Complimentary breakfast and networking begin at 8:30 am with the class following at 9:00 am.

Click here to register for this event.

SCORE’s 5th Annual Women Business Owners Conference
Date: September 28, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: The Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840 (map it)
Contact: Debbie Molino | Debbie.Molino@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: $79

Dare to Stand Out! Join SCORE for the annual Women Business Owners Conference: an interactive event for the savvy entrepreneur. Learn marketing strategies from women entrepreneurs scheduled to speak:

  • Keynote speaker Nellie Akalp, CorpNet CEO: How to Embrace the “Small” in Small Business
  • Liz Goodgold, REDFire Branding
  • Lisa T.D. Nguyen, Senhoa Jewelry Founder
  • Roni Ramos: Harmony 3 Productions, Founder

Your $79 admission fee includes breakfast, lunch, and parking. Please register before the Sept. 26 deadline.  

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

50 Ways to Get More Customers
Date: September 19, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: score.fairfieldcounty@gmail.com | (203) 831-0065
Organization: Fairfield County (Conn.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn simple techniques and discover tools to increase your customer base in the age of the Internet. Together we’ll cover how to develop your presence and showcase your expertise to bring customers to you using a pre-sales nurturing campaign, social media, and email marketing. Get started with free tools and techniques plus get basic templates and then hit the ground running to boost your business.

Topics will include:

  • Learn how sales has changed with the Internet
  • Create to create credibility, authority and trust
  • Set up your device (laptop, tablet, or Chromebook) with the Chrome browser and a Gmail account
  • Get started with Google Analytics for a WordPress website and other website building apps
  • Create nurturing email campaigns with tracking in a Google Sheet with canned emails
  • Understand how to repurpose and plan content for use on social media sites and in email marketing campaigns
  • Discover tools to help research potential clients

Click here to register for this event.

Targets of Opportunity: Recent Study Reveals Best Potentials for Economic Growth in our Region
Date: September 20, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

What could you and your business do if you knew:

  • Which industries show strong economic growth?
  • What occupations will be growing in the future?
  • What entrepreneurial activity will look like in our region?

Start using data to make your business decisions. Join this webinar to learn how the far mountains region of Northern California (specifically Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties) fared in the last national recession and which industry areas defied the recession and saw growth. We’ll uncover the industry groups which showed a combination of business growth, job growth, wage growth, and job opportunities. We’ll understand the trends in our region’s entrepreneurial growth and how that growth ties into the region’s industries.

Targets of Opportunity Study:

  • Which industries in your area show economic strength and competitive advantage
  • Which areas of the economy provide growing entrepreneurial opportunities, emerging businesses, increasing employment and rising wages
  • How your local economy links with the larger regional economy
  • Which businesses are economically interdependent yet have common supply chains, labor needs, technologies, and markets

This webinar will be useful for potential entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic development or workforce professionals.

All who register will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar, plus a recording of the live event.

Click here to register for this event.

Improve Your Online Presence to Attract More Customers
Date: September 28, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Can customers easily find your small business online? Is all the information on your website, business listings, reviews, and social media correct and current? Inaccuracy can be costly and detrimental to your business and reputation.

Join this webinar to get started with immediate steps to building an accurate online presence.

You’ll learn:

  • What is an online presence, and why is it important to manage?
  • How to check your online data across the web (website, listing, reviews, social media)
  • How incorrect data can have a negative impact on your business
  • How to correct online business data immediately

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from September 1 through 17.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from September 1 through 17.

Northern California/Sacramento

IDEAS TO ASSETS—A Practical Guide to Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks
Date: September 6, 2017 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey Rd. 2nd Floor San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: Emily Navarra-Refugio | emily.navarra@sba.gov | (415) 744-6805
Organization: SBDC Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join SBDC Silicon Valley for this seminar on the legal principles and considerations you’ll likely encounter while converting your business ideas to assets. Get answers to your questions about requirements and procedures associated with protecting assets:

  • Inventions (patent)
  • Works of art (copyrights)
  • Brands (trademark)
  • Intellectual property (transferring, acquiring, or conveying ownership or use rights by assignment or license)
  • Manufacturers and distributors (working with outside parties)
  • Claims of possible infringement (enforcing or defending against)

Please note: this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event. Registration is required to attend. This seminar is also available in San Francisco on Sept. 7. Click here for more information.

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Date: September 7, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6777
Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for this seminar on how to prepare for retirement as a small business owner. A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will present information that can help you choose the right retirement solution for your small business.. The ESBA can help you ensure a financially secure future and make the right choices.

Click here to register for this event.

Running Your Own Food Business—10 Part Series
Date: September 11, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: San Lorenzo Library—Greenhouse Community Room
395 Paseo Grande San Lorenzo, CA 94580 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | Lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organizations: Alameda County SBDC and Alameda County Community Development Agency
Fee: Free

The Alameda County SBDC and the Alameda County Community Development Agency are joining forces to offer a free 10-part seminar series: Running Your Own Food Business.

Do you have a great idea and a burning desire to start a food business, but don’t know how? This series will help turn your idea into reality with the basics to start and grow your own food business in Alameda County.

The sessions will run Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, from September 11 through October 16. Participants who attend eight of the ten sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Get a preview of curriculum with Session 1: Defining Your Concept. In this session, we will discuss how to begin to take an idea for a new food company, and begin to explore how you can expand an idea into a business plan.

Start with the basic questions to answer:

  • Product (aka the “what”)
  • Target market (aka the “who”)
  • Unique Selling Proposition (aka the “why”)

Expand your knowledge with these concepts:

  • How to define success: your bottom line, triple bottom line, environmental impact, community impact, and more
  • How to identify your distribution channel options
  • How to engage key people: your shareholders and stakeholders

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Create a Testimonial Video for Your Business Right on Your Smart Phone
Date: September 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
2130 East 4th St. Suite 160, Santa Ana, CA 92705 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

A testimonial video can be gold for your business. This live demo will help you create video right on your smart phone. Use the tips, tricks, and app recommendations to kickstart video production for your business.

This workshop will have you calling “Action!” in no time. Get started with us and get your video seen on social media and in email.

Topics include:

  • How to identify the apps that make editing easy
  • How to shoot better video on your smart phone using focus and exposure techniques
  • How to get better sound and voice overs
  • How to get the most mileage from your testimonial video
  • How to market your video online with email and social media with actionable steps

Click here to register for this event.

Using Facebook and LinkedIn to Drive Business
Date: September 13, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Riverside Chamber of Commerce
3985 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini| diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $15 pre-registration | $25 at the door

You probably know it by now: social media is a smart way to attract business. The mystery of how to use social media to grow your business is harder to figure out. This workshop unlocks the mystery and gives you a step by step process for how to get started.

We will cover:

  • Differences between Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin
  • The right platform for your business
  • Your page, account, and profile: how-to’s for creating and managing your presence
  • Social media works for your business

Click here to register for this event.

2017 Small Business Expo
Date: September 14, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: California Market Center—Penthouse
110 East 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90079 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Cybersecurity: Protect your Business and your Clients
Date: September 6, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 9300 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Carole Harris | carole.harris@sba.gov | (312) 353-4003
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals seeking economic gain through the exploitation of cyber systems. About half of small businesses in the U.S. have had their data breached in the last year. As a small business owner, you’re at risk of losing your customer information, your reputation, and  your intellectual property – all of which have real financial consequences.

This webinar discusses best practices devised by experts in the public and private sectors to help you mitigate the risk of a cyber breach and avoid issues that come with cybercrime. Topics include:

  • Sources of threats
  • Types of countermeasures
  • Additional resources

Take the first step to secure your business by participating in this free webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

A Simple Approach to Better Workplace Communication
Date: September 7, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Larry Batten| larry.batten@sba.gov | (304) 623-7447
Organization: SBA West Virginia District Office
Fee: Free

Strong communication skills are essential in business. According to research published by the Holmes Report, miscommunication issues in business cost companies $62.4 million per year.

In this webinar, you’ll learn a simple communication framework that will reduce miscommunication in the workplace and put more of your hard earned money back in your pocket.

Click here to register for this event.

Tips for Measuring Your Online Success
Date: September 13, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 8:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Megan Ernst | megan.ernst@csi.cuny.edu | (718) 982-2560
Organization: Staten Island Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

You invest time, effort, and resources into your online presence, but do you know how much it’s worth to your bottom line?

This workshop introduces ways to track and measure progress. Learn the top ways to measure your online success with tools from the SBDC and Google.

Click here to register for this event.

 

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

SimpleSTEPS for Starting Your Business
Date: August 17, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: Edward Fordyce | efordyce@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

This SCORE workshop will help you understand what it takes to successfully start and grow a small business. If you’re a new or early-stage business owner, this workshop is designed for your needs. We’ll present an overview of issues that can impact success or failure for small businesses, drawn directly from real experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Start-up Myths
  • Business Opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Structure, DBA, Licenses, Insurance
  • Record Keeping & Taxes
  • Cash Needs & Sources
  • Business Plans
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Cash Flow Projections: How to Use Microsoft Excel to Plan Ahead for Your Business
Date: August 23, 2017 | 8:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: $10

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for an intensive one-day session to set your business up for financial success. Together we’ll complete a cash flow spreadsheet and learn some basics of Microsoft Excel.

Get answers to your key questions such as:

  • What is a cash flow projection? Learn what the future may hold by creating the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Is it all pie in the sky? Learn how to make sales projections based on research, comparison and solid assumptions.
  • When do I need a cash flow? Learn the different uses of a cash flow so you can make better decisions in your business planning.

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Marketing For Your Small Business
Date: August 24, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 550 E Shaw Ave. Fresno, CA 93710 (map it)
Contact: David Vazquez | davazquez@csufresno.edu | (559) 278-3712
Organization: Fresno State SBDC Fresno/Madera
Fee: $75

Learn about the fundamentals of branding during this two hour intensive workshop. Whether you’re having trouble generating new business or have marketing brand in place, work with us to define and optimize your small business marketing focus.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How To Get A Business Loan
Date: August 17, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: University of La Verne Campus Center Third Floor
2000 2nd St. La Verne, CA 91750 (map it)
Contact: Fidel Gomez | fgomez@laverne.edu | (909) 448-1573
Organization: University of La Verne SBDC
Fee: Free

Join us at the SBDC for a free seminar on how to prepare your best application for a small business loan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • SBA loans and loan qualifications
  • Criteria lenders look for
  • Loan package process
  • And more!

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez is scheduled to attend the event. He will be available to answer your questions about small business loans including how to get started.

Click here to register for this event.

Legal Forms of Organization
Date: August 21, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 3780 Market St. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organizations: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Join this workshop featuring an attorney who will educate you about the different forms of business organization and which is most beneficial for your business, including tax consequences and benefits of each type of information.

We’ll also discuss how to protect your personal assets and property from lawsuits plus how to prevent piercing of the corporate veil of protection.

The workshop will close with an overview of legal issues facing a small business from startup to success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Sells: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
Date: August 22, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce—Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Dr. #102 Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Social Media is a moving target with constant changes happening every day. Join this free workshop to get the up-to-date information on how you can use social media to grow your business.

Topics include:

  • Define marketing goals and strategies using free and subscription tools
  • Get started with social media analytics from gathering data to interpreting results
  • Set marketing goals based on analytics to optimize impact
  • Identify the latest trends with social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Twitter
  • Analyze the demographics of who uses different social media platforms
  • Understand how and why Pinterest and Instagram choose to purchase products or services directly from a post
  • Discover how to use social media for non-profit and business to business marketing

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Essential Elements of Every Small Business Website
Date: August 17, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

Your website is the hub of your entire online presence and must function as a marketing asset. In this webinar, Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch will cover the key features every small business website must have in the world of marketing-activated websites.

Topics include:

  • Draw visitors in with a compelling promise
  • Include key trust-building elements prospects look for
  • Create a “Call to Action” that gets clicks
  • Develop content to attract search engines
  • Build a homepage journey for your ideal client

Move your business beyond brochures and make the leap to digital!

Click here to register for this event.

Smart Borrowing Practices
Date: August 30, 2017 | 10:00 pm PDT – 11:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re considering a major financial decision like purchasing a car or house, or looking to borrow money, this free webinar is your starting point on the journey.

Topics include:

  • Smart borrowing tips
  • Your rights as a borrower
  • Signs of predatory lending
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

The Hidden Benefits of Going Green
Date: August 31, 2017| 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

You probably already know the benefits of improving the environmental sustainability of your small business. Did you know that these initiatives go beyond preserving scarce resources like water and energy to helping lower your costs and gain customers?

Get tips for retailers looking to advance their sustainability efforts in this free webinar, including:

  • Low and no cost steps to take that will result in near-term savings
  • Special tips for food service establishments
  • Ways to share your efforts and appeal to your increasingly socially and environmentally conscious customers
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Jimmy Orozco of Iguana’s Burritozilla in San Jose. Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose.

Made in San Jose

Iguana’s Burritozilla has been a part of the San Jose business landscape since 1994. Current CEO Jimmy Orozco started working in his uncle’s restaurant, the flagship location in downtown San Jose, when he was in high school. Since the beginning, Iguana’s has been a family owned and operated business, with Jimmy’s siblings and cousins all working together as co-owners of the franchise with four locations in Santa Clara County.

The Orozco family has built Iguana’s into a famous brand, with appearances on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. They also invest in the community by hiring staff from the neighborhoods where they open new stores and funding deejays for local high school dances.

Iguana’s success has always come from within, with Jimmy and the rest of the family bringing a “do it yourself” spirit to work every day. When Jimmy started thinking about small business financing to help open a new location in South San Jose, he needed a solution that worked for his business.

“We were turned down by a bunch of lenders,” Jimmy said. “None of them really seemed to understand the growth of our business.”

Jimmy found Opportunity Fund through the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business that explores and expands knowledge of the Latino entrepreneurship segment in California’s economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Opportunity Fund plus Iguana’s turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.

Big Burritos Equal Big Business

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn started working with Jimmy to get the funding he needed to open the new location. The $250,000 loan we closed in February 2017 made a major difference for Iguana’s.

“Without Opportunity Fund, we would probably be doing the same thing but with a little more strain on the company,” Jimmy said of their expansion. “Now we don’t have to worry so much, because the capital is there.”

Shanna’s guidance throughout the loan process was also a huge help. “Working with Shanna was refreshing and surprising, and unexpected,” Jimmy said. “She took the time to understand our business. She gets the entire picture of what we’re doing. The communication was easy and quick.”

Jimmy and Shanna - Iguana's

Jimmy and Shanna closed their deal with a handshake and an invitation to lunch (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The new location is fast tracked for a spring grand opening, with more locations to come. Jimmy is focused on his hometown community as always, but he’s also looking to expand to locations outside Santa Clara County in the future.

“We serve college students, high school kids, local business people, locals, you name it,” Jimmy said. “Anybody who wants good food in a fun environment is welcome here.”

We’re proud to support successful local entrepreneurs like Jimmy and honored to serve family-owned small businesses. We’re especially looking forward to grabbing a taco at Iguana’s new location.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 31 through August 16.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 31 through August 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

Modesto: Business Start Up
Date: August 8, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Kirk Lindsey Center
1020 10th St. Suite 102 Modesto, CA 95354 (map it)
Contact: Peni Hogwood | phogwood@stanbusalliance.com | (209) 422-6416
Organization: Valley Sierra SBDC Modesto
Fee: Free

If you dream of owning your own business and think you have what it takes to be successful, this free two hour workshop is for you.

Join us for an entrepreneur’s introduction to the basics of starting a new business. Bring your ideas for your business model—rough ideas are okay too! Get answers to your questions like:

  • Is your idea viable?
  • What kind of financing will it take to open your business?
  • Why do you need a business plan?
  • What are the risks, pitfalls, and requirements of opening a new business?
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

California Small Business Insurance Requirements Seminar
Date: August 3, 2017 | 2:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 4608 Duckhorn Dr. Sacramento, CA 95834 (map it)
Contact: Catrina Avila | admin@vbocix.org | (916) 527-8400
Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Program
Fee: Free

California law mandates employers to have certain types of insurance, including workers’ compensation, unemployment, and (contingent on the business location) disability insurance, and others depending on your type of business. Join this seminar to learn the difference between the types of insurance and how to get started for your business.

Click here to register for this event. This seminar is also available as a webinar. Click here for more information.

WE Thrive Together on Tuesday: Being Bold With Heart – Networking Success Tips You Can Implement Now
Date: August 5, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Moseley Family Cellars
4713 Mountain Lakes Blvd. Suite 300 Redding, CA 96003 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for this networking opportunity that will help you create a story for your small business.

Women share a desire to connect. We value our relationships. Together, let’s explore why our female assets are admirable in business development.

Discover these building blocks for small business success:

  • Define what “convenience” means for you in business development
  • Create a personal asset inventory
  • Engage your top 3 personality assets for successful marketing ideas

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How to Start Your Business Financials in Excel
Date: August 9, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: 13430 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu | (310) 973-3177
Organization: SBDC Hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Overcome your fear of starting with an empty Excel spreadsheet. Learn the basic Excel functions necessary to develop your financials and then build a basic Profit and Loss statement for your business in this workshop.

For maximum impact you may bring your laptop to follow along, but it is not required. Basic computer knowledge is required for this class.

Click here to register for this event.

Demystifying the Commercial Leasing Process
Date: August 9, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 4:30 pm PDT
Location: Mission Viejo City Hall—Saddleback Room
200 Civic Center Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organizations: Orange County SCORE
Fee: $35 via pre-registration online  $45 at the door (cash or check only)

Commercial building owners and their agents each have a strong background in negotiating leases, which most commercial tenants lack. This course can help you even the score with skills on how to lease the right office, industrial, or retail space for your business.

Leasing commercial property takes knowledge and skill. Whether you are planning to lease a commercial property on your own or use the services of a qualified broker, this seminar will guide you through the steps of the process and prepare you for signing your lease with confidence.

Click here to register for this event.

Communicating & Negotiating Effectively Across Cultures
Date: August 10, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego Public Library—Mary Hollis Clark Conference Center
330 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101 (map it)
Contact: Cynthia Harris | cynthia.harris@sba.gov | (619) 727-4885
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

In today’s global environment, we must work with people from other cultures. Communicating with people with different cultural groups can be challenging, whether they are colleagues we are working with, suppliers and clients we are doing business with, or direct reports we are supervising. Each culture has its own rules and norms, which prescribe the attitudes and behaviors considered normal within that culture.

Our cultural background programs the way we view and interpret the world around us. Few of us are aware of our own cultural biases and baggage. This workshop will help you develop effective communication skills with people from other cultures through mindful and conscious learning.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Date: August 3, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Melissa Terrell | mterrell@theinstitutenc.org
Organization: The Women’s Business Center of North Carolina
Fee: Free

Learn how to create a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. This seminar will cover the best free and low-cost marketing tools and help promote your business without breaking the bank.

Click here to register for this event.

Demystifying Business Insurance
Date: August 10, 2017 | 12:30 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

You’ve embarked on the incredible journey of starting your own business. You completed your business plan and worked with a top notch attorney to set up the right business structure for your new business. You found a prime location and space for your business and you’re ready to launch. There’s just one little thing left: insurance.

You have no idea what types of insurance coverage you need. The information your friends or family members tell you about insurance is confusing and may not be accurate.

This webinar from the SBA will help you get started with business insurance. Get answers to your questions:

  • Why do I need insurance?
  • What is the difference between first party and third party insurance coverage?
  • What are the common types of insurance coverage for business owners?
  • Why should I select available “optional” coverage?
  • How do I find the right business insurance agent?
  • What are the common myths about insurance?
  • And more!

The SBA Seattle District Office offers free workshops the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Here’s an upcoming slate of free August events:

  • Webinar | August 10 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Make the World’s Biggest Buyer Your Customer through Government Contracting
  • Webinar | August 10 | 12:30 – 1 p.m. | Demystifying Business Insurance
  • Webinar | August 10 | 2:15 -3:45 p.m. | DIY Market Research with the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Meet the Lenders: How to Finance Your Small Business
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Your Business Plan: Do the Financials Add Up?
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Best Financial Practices for Your Business

Click here to register for this event and to get more information on upcoming seminars from the SBA Seattle District office.

Small Business Mentoring for your LGBT Business
Date: August 15, 2017| 7:00 am PDT – 8:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Valerie Maher | Houston@sba.gov | (713) 773-6500
Organization: SBA Houston District Office
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar for entrepreneurs. You’ll get information about:

  • How to get business counseling through SCORE, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Women’s Business Center (WBC)
  • How to grow your business
  • How the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce can help your business
  • How small businesses benefit from SBA programs

Speakers will include:

  • SBA Houston District Office Experts
  • GHLGBTCC Chamber Leadership
  • SCORE
  • LGBT Business Owner

This workshop is open to all and we encourage the following groups to attend:

  • LGBT business owners (or prospective business owners)
  • Currently certified LGBTBEs seeking new growth strategies
  • Local business leaders
  • Supplier Diversity and procurement professionals
  • Anyone committed to the economic advancement of LGBT community

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Maria Villarreal runs Cosmetica Latina, a successful cosmetology school in Downey. She is also a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. This week, read about Maria Villarreal of Cosmetica Latina in Downey. Maria runs a successful cosmetology school and is a leader in the Latino business community. We helped her refinance a high interest predatory loan so she can focus on expanding her business.

A Leader in Education

Maria started Cosmetica Latina in 2002 in Downey. The cosmetology school has strong ties to the Latino community and supports students throughout their studies with hands-on instruction, internships in the field, and real world business skills. The school has 25 employees as instructors and administrators and has graduated over 70 students with skills in barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics.

Maria has a long history as a responsible business borrower. Our non-profit community partner AMPAC Tri-State CDC helped Maria get started with a 504 Small Business Association loan to buy the building she was renting for her school.

She needed another small business loan to help expand her school through advertising, so she took out a merchant cash advance loan. Soon she found her cash flow drained under the weight of high monthly payments.

“When I signed up for that loan, I thought I was getting low interest financing,” Maria said. “I wanted to build my credit with that loan, but they didn’t report on my credit.”

Fighting for Fair Loan Practices

AMPAC connected Maria to us when she needed help refinancing her predatory MCA loan. Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata helped Maria get the $50,000 loan she needed to pay off the loan. Our commitment to providing easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans included a fight with Maria’s MCA lender.

“They offered a lower interest rate to keep me,” Maria said. “They wouldn’t release the payoff letter to Opportunity Fund either.”

Cosmetica Latina - Robert and Maria

Maria shakes hands with Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata at Cosmetica Latina headquarters (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

By refinancing Maria’s high interest MCA loan, we were able to reduce her monthly payment from $6,000 to  $1,600. The extra cash flow allows her to reinvest in marketing.

Maria is thankful to work with us as she rebuilds her business lending profile. “Opportunity Fund was completely transparent,” she said. “They helped me understand the loan process and showed me I wasn’t the only one who gets stuck with these very high interest loans.”

Maria is taking her negative lending experiences and turning them into positive actions within the community. She shares her story among her network of small business owners so they don’t fall into the traps that target entrepreneurs.

“I want to make the community aware of financing options and help them make good lending decisions,” she said.

Maria is a prime example of the borrowers we help: community leaders and responsible business borrowers. We’re honored to support Cosmetica Latina.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 17 through July 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 17 through July 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Women Mean Business
Date: July 18, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Renaissance SOMA
275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Fatimah Aure | faure@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6217
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

Join the Renaissance Entrepreneurship center for this networking event where women entrepreneurs will share their journeys of starting and growing their own San Francisco-based jewelry businesses. Enjoy an evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a panel discussion, followed by facilitated networking. Entry fee includes light dinner.

Click here to register for this event.

Success with Facebook Ads
Date: July 19, 2017 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: Angelique Gosse | angelique.gosse@sfgov.org | (415) 937-7232
Organization: San Francisco SBDC
Fee: Free

During this workshop you will learn the best practices for achieving success and creating leads through Facebook Ads.

This class is designed for intermediate Facebook Ad users. Please prepare the following prerequisites before attending the seminar to get the most out of your time with us:

  • Install Facebook Pixel on your business website (Get started here)
  • Create an Ad manager Facebook account for your business Facebook page (Get started here)
  • Prepare and bring a current email client list with first name, last name, and email address
  • Prepare and bring 5-10 Images and/or video

Bring your laptop and get ready to learn! Click here to register for this event.

How to Repair or Build Your Credit
Date: July 19, 2017 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mount Shasta, California 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: $15

Credit can be an incredible asset or a heavy burden, depending on how you use it. Your credit history is an important factor in access to capital for your business.
Join this workshop and learn:

  • Why and how to build your credit
  • How to get free credit reports
  • What makes a good credit score
  • Why you want to file taxes and show some profit
  • What NOT to do if you want a high credit score

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Grow Your Business: You’ve Survived, Now Thrive
Date: July 22, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: United States University
7675 Mission Valley Rd. San Diego, CA 92108 (map it)
Contact: workshop0140@scorevolunteer.org | (619) 727-4874
Organization: SCORE San Diego
Fee: $20

SCORE’s Grow Your Business is an informal conversation between you and our team of qualified executives, experts in the areas of sales, marketing, finance, management, and more. The session is designed to help small business owners take their enterprise to the next level.

This discussion will address the needs and concerns of our audience. Instead of SCORE “guessing” at what the audience would like to hear, you are encouraged to bring your questions or concerns. We also encourage attendees to share their own experiences and/or solutions to questions addressed.

Click here to register for this event.

SBA Day and Lender Fair in Vista
Date: July 26, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Vista Civic Center
200 Civic Center Dr. Vista, CA 92084 (map it)
Contact: Maria Hughes | Maria.hughes@sba.gov | (619) 727-4871
Organizations: SBA San Diego District Office and Vista Chamber of Commerce
Fee: Free

The SBA San Diego District Office and the Vista Chamber of Commerce are hosting an SBA Day event and Lender Fair on Wednesday, July 26th.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m., followed by the main program and presentations from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m:

  • California small business permits and taxes—Presented by California Board of Equalization
  • Legal aspects of being in business—Presented by a local attorney
  • Overview of the new I-9 form and filing procedures—Presented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Cyber Security Tips—Presented by TBD
  • Our Resource Partners Can Help You Succeed in Your Business—Presented by representatives from SCORE, the Small Business Development Center, the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center, and others

The Lender Fair, networking, and one-on-one Counseling will follow presentations until 2 p.m.

Coffee and light breakfast will be available. Optional lunch is available for $5 fee, payable at registration.

Click here to register for this event. Registration is required to attend.

Marketing for Restaurants
Date: July 27, 2017 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: West Valley BusinessSource Center
18645 Sherman Wy. #114 Reseda, CA 91335 (map it)
Contact: Irene Vazquez | ivazquez@vedc.org | (818) 705-9977
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Restaurateurs hear a lot of conflicting ideas about restaurant promotions. Join this free workshop to learn how to grow your business from the ground up.

Get information on these key strategies:

  • Avoid promotional ideas that might devalue your restaurant
  • Avoid unsustainable expectations from customers like getting food at half price
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Using LinkedIn to Grow your Business
Date: July 19, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: marketingscore24@gmail.com | (973) 442-6400
Organization: Northwest New Jersey SCORE
Fee: Free

Join Northwest New Jersey SCORE for this webinar and get the most out of LinkedIn for your small business:

  • Build your professional network on LinkedIn
  • Gather intelligence and data on your prospects and customers
  • Enhance your reputation
  • Become the authoritative resource in your market segment
  • Generate new sales leads

Click here to register for this event.

Business Plan Overview
Date: July 19, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Melissa Terrell | mterrell@theinstitutenc.org | (919) 956-2335
Organization: Women’s Business Center of North Carolina
Fee: Free

Join the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina for this webinar where you’ll learn the key elements of a successful business plan. Get answers to your questions on why you need a good business plan and how to get started.

The webinar will cover:

  • Outline your plan
  • Craft a mission statement
  • Analyze the market and the industry
  • Create a financial plan
  • Locate resources

Click here to register for this event.

Marketing With Google Tools
Date: July 19, 2017| 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: njsbdcnb@business.rutgers.edu | (848) 445-8790
Organization: NJSBDC at Rutgers – New Brunswick
Fee: Free

The webinar covers three features of Google Tools to market and grow a business online:

  • Be found by local customers—How to connect with local searchers using Google My Business, a free local business listing that can help your business appear across Google Search and Maps
  • Be found everywhere, on all devices—How to optimize your website for the organic search results, focusing on making your site mobile-friendly
  • Be found with online advertising—How to promote your products and services on Google and partner websites.

Click here to register for this event. After completing your registration, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Nelda and Gammie Vargas had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Opportunity Fund helped GNC Kusina Atbp grow with two small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Nelda and Gammie Vargas of GNC Kusina Atbp in Sacramento. Nelda and Gammie had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Read how we helped them grow their business with two small business loans.

A Fresh Business Idea

Nelda and Gammie Vargas started their own Filipino restaurant, GNC Kusina Atpb, in 2014. Gammie has over 30 years of experience as a professional chef at restaurants like Morton’s The Steakhouse. Nelda studied accounting in the Philippines. The time was right for them to start a business.

GNC Kusina Atbp is unique in Sacramento: a restaurant/grocery store where you can pop in for a freshly cooked traditional Filipino breakfast or pick up staples like house-made pork rinds for your home pantry.

As a first time business owner, Nelda has worked through challenges to make her restaurant successful. “It was hard at first starting because we had no background with starting a restaurant business,” she said.  “We’re doing better now. We’re focused on introducing our food to new customers.”

Nelda Vargas - GNC Kusina

Nelda proudly serves authentic Filipino food (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

GNC Kusina Atbp is the only source of income for Nelda and Gammie. “This is our bread and butter,” she said. “Our business helps us pay our bills, our house payments, our utilities, everything. We’re doing well.”

Soon Nelda started looking for small business loans to help secure cash flow for the business. A unique business like GNC Kusina Atbp required a unique funding source. Opportunity Fund was the right fit.

Funding A Family Restaurant

Nelda went to her Wells Fargo business banker, who connected her to Opportunity Fund. Once she talked to loan consultant Madieu Shyllon, she knew we were the right choice for her business.

“Madieu came to my business and approved my first loan,” she said. “My credit wasn’t good when I first applied for loans. It’s hard to get approved for a small business loan without a business profile. I just started my business and couldn’t pay to hire someone to prepare my profile.”

The $10,000 loan helped Nelda purchase a new freezer unit in August 2015. Madieu closed a second loan in January 2017 for $15,000 to help with cash flow.

Nelda values her working relationship with Madieu. “He’s there whenever I call him,” she said. “Sometimes he comes all the way from the Bay Area just to visit us and see how we’re doing, even if he doesn’t have business in the area.”

Nelda is looking to the future of her restaurant. She hopes to call on us again when she needs working capital. We’ll be there to help GNC Kusina Atbp serve up fresh Filipino favorites.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org